Brewers Lock Up Yelich
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Brewers were close to an agreement on a contract extension with superstar outfielder Christian Yelich.
The 2018 National League MVP (and 2019 runner-up) is currently signed through the 2021 season plus a $15 million team option for 2022 ($1.25 million buyout). Overall -- with the team option -- he’s owed $41.5 million for the next three seasons.
Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, if the club-record extension is completed, it would add seven years and around $190 million to the two years remaining on Yelich’s contract (option season excluded). In total, it would bring his contract to nine years and around $215 million for the 2020-2028 seasons.
The deal is also expected to include a mutual option for the 2029 season. Feinsand also notes that like the deals the Brewers made with Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain, Yelich’s extension would also include deferred money.
The Brewers let a pair of big bats depart as free agents over the winter -- Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal -- and now it appears like the plan all along may have been for general manager David Stearns to free up money to sign the face of his franchise to a massive extension to keep him in Milwaukee through his age-36 season.
Coming off of a season in which he slashed a monstrous .329/.429/.679 with 44 homers, 97 RBI and 30 stolen bases in only 130 games, there may not be a better hitter in baseball. Had the 28-year-old not suffered back and knee injuries that cut his season short in early September, he likely would have won his second consecutive National League MVP award.
Now back to full health, he’s ready to continue terrorizing the opposing pitching in the National League Central. He’ll also continue to be a five-category monster in fantasy leagues. He’s the consensus third overall selection in drafts behind Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mike Trout -- and had he finished the 2019 season healthy he may be at the top of that heap.
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Chris Sale Sent for MRI
Things certainly haven’t gone according to plan for the Red Sox since the 2019 season ended. From losing manager Alex Cora after the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal came to the surface, to the on-again-off-again-on-again trade of superstar outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.
If things seemingly couldn’t get any worse, more bad news came out of Boston on Tuesday when it was announced that ace left-hander Chris Sale has renewed soreness in his pitching elbow and would be sent for an MRI exam.
Sale has already been slowed due to illness this spring, but he came down with some soreness after throwing live batting practice recently. Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke said there's concern here, especially after an elbow issue ended his season last year. You'll recall that Sale was shut down in mid-August due to inflammation in his pitching elbow. He also received a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews at the time -- who confirmed that Sale was dealing only with inflammation and that Tommy John surgery was not recommended at the time.
He was then shut down for six weeks and given a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing elbow. Sale then had a follow-up exam with Dr. Andrews just before Thanksgiving, in which everything checked out well and he was cleared to begin throwing immediately.
The Red Sox were easing him into action this spring -- not because of the elbow issue -- but because Sale was battling pneumonia at the beginning of camp. He made it through one successful bullpen session without any issues, but the first time that he threw a live batting practice, something didn't feel right.
While it could just be regular soreness after being sidelined for so long, this does sound ominous. The imaging that was done on Tuesday will be sent to Dr. Andrews to review. Though you hate to see it -- it would appear as though Tommy John surgery is a realistic outcome here.
Prior to this news, Sale was still being drafted as a the 12th pitcher off the board in NFBC drafts over the last two weeks -- right around pick 42 overall on average. For the risk-averse drafter, it may be time to forget about the tantalizing strikeout potential and cross Sale off of your draft board entirely.
Luckily, we’ll get some sort of answer in the coming days -- and surely before mid-March when it’s time to start drafting in the Main Event.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that while Giancarlo Stanton (calf) is "unrealistic" for Opening Day, they expect him back at some point in April.
Stanton suffered a Grade 1 strain of his right calf last week and there's just not enough time for him to be ready for the start of the season. It's nice to know this won't be a lengthy absence, but this only underscores the injury risk associated with selecting him in upcoming fantasy drafts. Stanton appeared in just 18 games last year due to a wide variety of physical ailments.
Over the last two weeks, Stanton owns an average draft position of 61st in NFBC drafts. That’s surely going to fall a bit more -- at least a half of a round -- before the biggest drafts in the industry begin in a couple of weeks.
Personally, given how readily abundant power is throughout drafts -- particularly in the early rounds where Stanton is still being taken -- he’s a player that I’m going to avoid. It’s hard enough going through the grind of a fantasy season with all of the injuries that ultimately crop up throughout the year -- you don’t need to compound that by drafting players in the first five rounds who are already injured.
If the Stanton injury wasn’t a big enough blow to the Yankees’ lineup, Aaron Judge is dealing with a malady of his own. The 27-year-old slugger was sent for more tests on Tuesday to figure out exactly what’s going on.
Judge's injury was originally described as soreness in his right shoulder, but now the discomfort is more in the pectoral area. The hope is that the additional testing will give the Yankees a better idea of what they are dealing with and a roadmap for getting him back on the field. As of now, Opening Day would appear to be in serious question.
Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman admitted as much on Tuesday, telling reporters, "I don't see him ready by Opening Day because of the time frame," said Cashman. "It's 3 1/2 weeks. There's just the healing and then having to have a spring training."
There should be more clarity after Tuesday’s exam, but for now any sort of ETA is up in the air.
Over the last two weeks, Judge’s average draft position in NFBC drafts had been steady just outside the top 30 overall. That number may drop down a bit -- perhaps to the middle or back-end of the third round in 15-team formats -- but for now he still doesn’t seem like a player to completely cross off of your draft board. Pay close attention to the injury news over the next couple of days though to be sure.
American League Quick Hits: Blake Snell (elbow) was able to play catch on Tuesday, the first time he has done so since he was given a cortisone injection last week to combat soreness in his surgically-repaired left elbow. He’ll repeat the process on Wednesday and go from there, but he’s hopeful he’ll be able to pitch for the Rays during the first week of the regular season. … Yordan Alvarez was scratched from the Astros’ lineup on Tuesday due to knee soreness. Manager Dusty Baker said it was merely a precautionary measure and that there was no long-term concern. … A.J. Puk has been diagnosed with a mild left shoulder strain. He’ll be shut down temporarily, and could begin the season on the injured list. … Jose Altuve was held out of action on Tuesday due to illness. … Mike Clevinger (knee) pushed his flat-ground throwing out to 150 feet on Tuesday in what he called a “really, really, really promising day”. ... Edwin Encarnacion returned to the White Sox’ lineup on Tuesday after missing a few days due to a minor back issue. … Brendan McKay (shoulder) is scheduled to make his spring debut on Friday… Rays’ prospect Garrett Whitley suffered multiple facial fractures after being hit by a batted ball in the dugout on Monday. … Tommy Milone was limited to throwing a simulated game on Tuesday after coming down with what Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called a "tender trap.". ... Brent Honeywell (elbow) threw his second bullpen session of the spring on Tuesday, throwing 15 pitches - all of them fastballs. … Marwin Gonzalez had a patellar debridement procedure on his right knee in October, which kept him off of his feet until December - he was healthy enough to homer in his Grapefruit League debut against the Tigers on Tuesday though. … Martin Maldonado was scratched from the Astros' Grapefruit League lineup on Tuesday due to a bruised left thumb. … Jose Urquidy struck out four over three scoreless innings against the Cardinals. … Jonathan Loaisiga punched out four over two perfect innings against the Red Sox. … Masahiro Tanaka racked up five strikeouts over three perfect frames in that one. … Making his first Cactus League start, Carlos Carrasco (hip) gave up two runs over two innings on Tuesday versus the Angels. … Jorge Mateo singled three times and stole a base Tuesday during Cactus League play versus the White Sox. ... Carlos Santana went 3-for-3 with a solo home run - his first of the spring - on Tuesday versus the Angels. … Maikel Franco went 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBI in Tuesday night's Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks.
National League Quick Hits: Luis Urias (wrist) was able to take live batting practice on the field on Tuesday as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. … Adrian Houser said that his exit from Monday’s game was precautionary - describing the issue as “fatigue” and “tightness” in his right thumb. … Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday that Ryan Braun has been dealing with a sore shoulder - which bothers him more hitting than it does throwing. … Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Tuesday that Genesis Cabrera's cracked fingernail isn't overly concerning. … Fernando Tatis Jr. missed his third straight game due to illness. … Dellin Betances (shoulder, Achilles) still thinks he'll be ready for Opening Day. … J.D. Davis (shoulder) has been doing baseball activities for a couple of days, including hitting in the cage. … A.J. Minter (elbow) threw 20 pitches in live batting practice on Tuesday. … Adam Eaton left Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles with a tight left hamstring. He’s considered day-to-day. … Eric Thames has been limited in recent days due to tightness in his left calf. … Max Scherzer struck out five and allowed two runs over 3 ⅓ innings in a victory over the Orioles. … Felix Hernandez allowed one run on four hits over four frames against the Rays - and appears to have the inside track at the fifth and final rotation spot in the Braves’ Opening Day rotation. … Garrett Richards held the Brewers scoreless for two innings in his Cactus League debut on Tuesday. … Ian Happ homered for the second straight game and is now 7-for-15 in Cactus League play. … Wil Myers blasted his third Cactus League homer in a victory over the Brewers. … Tyler Beede exited his Cactus League outing Tuesday versus the Rangers due to right elbow tightness.